military books by servicemembers.




R.L. Upchurch

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Colonel R.L. Upchurch, USMC (ret.) “was born in Detroit, Michigan. After attending Central Michigan College for two years, he reported to Pensacola, Florida as a Naval Aviation Cadet (NavCad). In 1955 he earned his gold wings and commission as a Second Lieutenant in the US Marine Corps, flying A1 Skyraider dive-bombers in the US and Western Pacific. He left active duty in 1958. Following a short teaching career, he returned to active duty and flew jet attack aircraft in Vietnam and the US, commanding at the squadron and group level. Retiring in 1985, he developed and managed a county aviation program in Virginia.”  R.L. Upchurch is the author of: Graveyard Spiral; With Flying Colors; and, Taming the Taildragger.


The MOAA said of Graveyard Spiral, “Two high school adversaries’ paths cross later in life when one is on the run for murder. He hijacks the other’s Cessna 182 and orders him to fly far out over the Gulf of Mexico. The cramped cockpit soon becomes the arena for a contest of survival. During their death struggle they enter a graveyard spiral, and one is thrown from the aircraft. But the lone occupant in the cockpit may not be the victor afterall. His fight for survival has only begun.”


One reader of Graveyard Spiral said, “I thought I would read this book on an extended vacation but soon found that I couldn't put it down. The writer's first book introduced us to Naval Aviation and this book creates a dramatic, suspenseful novel. We are immediately drawn into a not so typical interaction between 2 schoolmates, one an intriguing villain who keeps turning up in the life of our hot Naval Aviator. Upchurch has managed to intrigue us while all the time giving us insight into the technical aspects of flying. The mysterious friend draws us into a murder mystery, with a unique romantic tie in which leads to the suspenseful conclusion. This would be a great TV series along the lines of JAG.”


According to the book description of With Flying Colors, it “follows Tom Fitzgerald's tumultuous quest to become a Marine Corps pilot during the 1950's. In his quest for his wings of gold he confronts self-doubt, terror in the cockpit, uproarious rites of passage, and a fellow cadet's determination to humiliate him into dropping from the program.”

With Flying Colors
R. L. Upchurch  More Info

Graveyard Spiral
R. L. Upchurch  More Info

Taming the Taildragger
R. L. Upchurch  More Info

According to the book description of Taming the Taildragger, “When he earns his wings, Tom Fitzgerald learns that he will not be flying jets, but propeller driven Skyraiders. When he and his nemesis, Dean Claymore, report for duty in Miami, Florida they discover that the old taildragger can deliver tons ordnance; however it is unforgiving of inexperienced aviators. Fortunately Miami offers diversions, such as airline stewardesses, jai alai frontons, and all night cocktail lounges.


When the squadron deploys to the Far East it deals with bizarre aircraft accidents, a humiliating encounter in a Manila bar, and a wacky operation to rescue US citizens from a civil war on Sumatra. Days before they are to return home, Tom and Dean disappear over the Philippines and are feared to be victims of communist guerillas. Crammed with nonstop aviation adventure, this saga will not let you go until the final page has been turned.

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